Aol (which is my employer, somehow) has picked up local photosharing app Hipster for an amount in the low seven figures, we’re hearing. The Hipster team of five will be working for the Aol mobile team out of Palo Alto, under badass Sol Lipman.
CEO Doug Ludlow confirmed the acquisition to us in an email, saying he will serve as director of mobile product management, a job that will involve, in part, being an evangelist for Aol’s mobile efforts to other mobile teams and startups.
And unlike most other deals where big companies hire small teams, this doesn’t mean the death of Hipster as a standalone product.
“The culture that Sol, David, and the team have created over at the AOL Mobile Team in Palo Alto is pretty amazing – it’s a group of people we can’t wait to starting building cool stuff with,” Ludlow says. “We’re also thrilled that Hipster is not only going to stay open as a product, but we’ll now be able to improve it / build even faster.”
Hipster first revealed itself to the public about a year ago through a mysterious landing page promising that “something cool is coming to San Francisco.” That, combined with the company name, was enough to drive massive interest. Eventually, when Hipster fully launched to the public, it pivoted away from its original focus, local Q&A, into an app for creating digital postcards (like the acquisition-themed one above, created by Ludlow). However, the company was probably better-known for its publicity stunts, which included recruiting engineers by offering $10,000 in cash and a year’s supply of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and a contest to send a user into “space” (in reality, a zero-G flight).
The company’s investors include Google Ventures, Lightbank, 500 Startups, Mitch Kapor, Dave McClure/500 Startups, Lightbank, Charles River Ventures, Max Ventilla, TechStars David Cohen and David Tisch, Google’s Don Dodge, Paige Craig, Ludlow Ventures, and Lerer Ventures.
[Anthony Ha ended up writing some of the post, because journalism!]
Hipster is creating a real-time, visual public record of the world’s locations. Using their iPhones and Android devices, people share where they are and what they are doing by sending their friends a photographic postcard. The postcards become permanently attached to the locations they were sent from, and are forever accessible to all those who come later. Based in SOMA, San Francisco, and founded in 2010 by Doug Ludlow, Ethan Czahor, and Steffen Hoffman.